By Gary Martyn, staff writer
When Hurricane Isaac flooded thousands of homes in LaPlace, Louisiana, Paul Naylor was determined to find ways to provide spiritual comfort and assistance to hurting families in the community.
Paul, the pastor of First Baptist Church in LaPlace, started calling various relief groups to see if one might be able to help. At the same time, Samaritan’s Purse had received the pastor’s name as a possible contact. One phone conversation between Paul and Samaritan’s Purse program manager Brent Graybeal was all it took.
“It was an answer to prayer,” Paul said. “I talked to Brent on Saturday morning and the Disaster Relief truck arrived on Sunday.”
First Baptist became the lighthouse church where Samaritan’s Purse set up a Disaster Relief Unit. The church is housing volunteers who are working to repair damaged roofs and clean out flooded homes.
“We feel that Samaritan’s Purse being here is a way for us to have a presence and an impact on our community,” Paul said. “It allows us to be a part of what you’re doing, and we feel good about that.”
He quickly discovered that churches throughout LaPlace were reaching out to families in different ways, providing food, clothing, child day care, and other assistance.
“There are a lot of local churches doing a lot of different things,” he said. “There’s a spirit of cooperation here. It’s neat what God can do when no one cares who gets the credit, but just tries to help the community.”
The needs in LaPlace and the surrounding communities are tremendous, and volunteers will be needed for weeks to come.
“We’re already off the news,” Paul said. “We’re not a name like New Orleans, and we will be forgotten, even though there is so much to do here. There’s no reason for it to take five years to get it done when we can attack it now and get it finished.
“I hope that Samaritan’s Purse gets a steady stream of volunteers so that they can stay for as long as they need to. They’re free to stay with us and serve here.”